Money, Mood, Happiness, and How to Live to 100

Dan Buettner is the author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest and Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way. He has done research on the distinctive habits of people with the greatest longevity around the world. Yesterday on The Dylan Ratigan Show he talked about happiness. One thing to note his how important social networks of trust are to happiness and health.

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A great many people belong to very bad religions in no small part because they provide the kinds of social networks, feelings of trust, and opportunities for charity that Buettner is talking about here. Atheists, if we are going to be rational about combating the influence of authoritarian religions, have to double down our efforts to create alternatives that do not require people to trade off their brains for deep social connections that are oriented around service to others.

Buettner discusses his research on the longest living people in the world in a fascinating TED video:

Did you catch the part where he said being part of a faith-based community adds 4-14 years to life? Atheists need to figure out rationalistic ways to systematically replicate the life enhancing communal mechanisms that make that happen. Faith is a vice. Many people embrace that vice because doing so is interconnected for them with a strategy for gaining other benefits. If we can provide the benefits without the irrationalism, i.e., without the beliefs that eschew concern for evidence, then we can take away any need for the average person to compromise their reason for their happiness.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.